Animal identification using branding can be one of the MOST important things you can do for not only disaster/emergency preparedness, but also to guard cattle against theft and loss. The key in getting your cattle returned to you after loss or emergency is animal identification. If you can prove who you are and what animals belong to you, you will have the animals returned to you successfully.
Your state animal health department can provide instructions on the
location of the branding, hot brands or freeze brands, and what sizes are allowed. On their website they also have a link so you can find out which brands have been registered before you apply. Brands can be on the left or right side, shoulder or hip. A brand can be registered for any combination or all combinations.
Brands should be easy to read and legible for animal identification. Take your time branding to ensure that the brand will look correct on the animal. Hot brands should be an even tan color, careful not to go through the skin of the animal.
Registering The Brand
It is very important to have the brand registered. Once registered, you will get a certificate from the state good until the brand has expired (renewal every few years). Branding your cattle with your registered brand is for your protection against theft and an excellent form of animal identification.
Hot brands are normally used on cattle for animal identification, but not recommended for use on horses. Horses have very thin skin. Freeze brands are better for horses. Freeze brands can also be used on cattle as well and make much clearer, easy to read brands.
Freeze brands may need to be re-done after a period of time.
The branding irons for hot brands and freeze brands are NOT
interchangeable. Hot branding uses a traditional style branding iron, heated evenly each use by fire or torch or an electric branding iron. They are typically made of steel.
Freeze branding irons are used with dry ice and alcohol. These can be used on any animal and do not cause pain to the animal. These branding irons are kept extremely cold and are made of brass.